Nelson graveyard and homestead restoration underway

. September 20, 2016

University of Maryland Eastern Shore Office of Engagement and Lifelong Learning, the Crisfield Heritage Foundation, and The Crisfield Story Project are partnering to rehabilitate, document, and map the Nelson graveyard plot and homestead in Hopewell, Md. UMES students will work to clear brush and grounds, clean and reposition fallen headstones, and paint the wrought iron fencing. The work will take place September 24 and 25, with a private reception for participating UMES students generously hosted by the Crisfield Heritage Foundation this Friday at the J. Millard Tawes Historical Museum.

nelson-graveyardThe Nelson homestead was designated one of Maryland’s top 10 endangered historic sites by Preservation Maryland in 2014. The graveyard rehabilitation project will help preserve the physical and historic integrity of the Nelson plot, which includes ancestors of many of Somerset County’s prominent families, including the Nelsons, Riggins, McCreadys and Sterlings.

Throughout the weekend, the importance of “saving places” and ways these places add value to a community will be discussed. Students will take a tour of the Nelson homestead and learn about its important architectural features. The students will also learn about the process and resources available that facilitate historic preservation, land conservation, and protecting property from rising water tables.

Guided by The Crisfield Project Story’s historian and local storyteller Joe Paden, students will get a taste of Somerset County history and the families associated with the homestead. Students will also learn the correct way to properly reposition and clean gravestones, document and map graveyards—and time permitting—will add the information to the grave website,

The UMES Office of Engagement and Lifelong Learning’s mission is to work collaboratively with local communities to enrich the quality of living on the Shore through outreach programs; to engage faculty and students in scholarly activities that positively impact Maryland citizens; and to provide lifelong learning opportunities to a global community. The office promotes college readiness and retention while working with local schools to build a pipeline to post-secondary education and identify curriculum-based service learning and civic engagement opportunities for college students.

The Crisfield Story Project is a historic and cultural outfitter, tour guide service, and memorabilia sales outlet, and is dedicated to bring the stories of Crisfield and Somerset County, Md. to life for those who want to experience the heritage that has helped form a lifestyle indigenous to the shores of the Chesapeake Bay, with more information at

The Crisfield Heritage Foundation’s mission is to preserve the heritage of Crisfield and its environs; to educate the public concerning this heritage; and to serve as the central hub around which tourism in the Crisfield area revolves. CHF’s entities include the J. Millard Tawes Historical Museum, the Ward Workshop, and the Cedar Island Marsh Sanctuary, among others. For more information about CHF, call 410-968-2501 or visit

The Nelson Homestead – Wood and Stone Retreat
1904 Haverhill Road – Baltimore, Md.

Category: Museum News

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